Record stone skimmers at Shropshire championship
Stone skimming is all the rage as the self-styled British championships attracted the highest number of throwers in its history – who broke multiple long distance records.
The British Stone Skimming Championships is held at Walcot Lake in Lydbury North, near Bishop's Castle, and this year nearly 200 people came from all over the country to compete.
Organiser Heather Ashton said competitors were particularly strong in the men's categories, with new records for the event being set across age groups.
She said: "We had a really wonderful day blessed by great weather. We had 178 people actually skimming, throwing 326 sets of four stones. That's a record for us, I think the most before was 265. It means in total a about 1,300 stones were cast into the lake."
"We probably had about 10 men all doing very well, pushing 80m and all our records were left behind a bit."
The men's record of 92m was smashed by Kevin Waltham from Newcastle Upon Tyne who threw 105m, only to be broken moments later by Alex Lewis from Scotland who threw 107m.
"He came all the way from the Glasgow area on the train and the bus, so he was very keen," Heather said.
There were also new records in the under 16 and under 12 boys category, the former of 66m smashed by Ben Hooper from Torquay at 86.5m – who would have come third in the men's adult skim had he been over 16 – and the latter of 39m by 10-year-old Keaton Powell from Ludlow, at 40.5m. Mel Bailey, from Shrewsbury, came first in the over 65 men's category but his 54m throw did not break the record.
In the ladies categories the winners were Charlotte Greenway from Oxford at 45m for the adults, Emily Bailey from Shrewsbury at 16.5m for the under 16s and Grace Cousin from Shrewsbury at 14m for the under 12s – but the only record broken was by Heather herself in the over 65 category in the over 65s, who threw 39m, beating the 33m record.
The best throw by a local man was by Jake Wall at 71m, beating last year's local champion, his brother Josh, who threw 68m.
But also getting attention was Albert Clacy, who managed to get the third longest throw by a local at 64m, despite being only 13.
Finally tiny tot Rory Godfrey won the under 5 competition with a throw of 5m.
Heather said the event had raised about £1,500 for the RNLI, though she said the day was not just about raising money or even about the skimming – it was a family day out with multiple stone-based games, activities and even picnicking going on around the throwing activity.
She said she wanted to thank all who volunteered and helped out to make the day a success.
"We had a good turn out from the RNLI and we had so many volunteer marshals on the day. People spent hours, even days clearing the lake – there was an awful lot of work put in," she said.